Wind grasped my sable hair, gently swinging it back and forth across my face. Dirt and bits of leaves grasped onto my bare feet as I mercilessly stepped upon them. Towering trees with leaves of brown, orange, and yellow occluded me from the scintillating rays of the slowly descending sun. Branches tugged at my loose, blue shirt and denim capris, silently begging me to stay. Instead, I trudged on, occasionally stopping to listen to the music. Listening to the soft cadence of the gently swaying trees. Listening to the swirling of leaves dancing merrily with the wind. There was no better sound than the sound of nature.
Being out here, exploring the forgotten wonders, was something I simply could not live without. Something I could not imagine being without. Nature was, is my savior. One step, and I am enlivened. One brush of wind, and my worries and frustrations are swept away. One breath, and I am alive again.
Strolling forward, almost skipping, I kicked a vibrantly colored pile of leaves, and watched as they fluttered back towards the ground. Flashes of brown, red, orange, and yellow leaves fluttered in front of my eyes. A small smile made its way across my lips after being hidden for far too long. Just as it appeared, it quickly vanished.
Something had caught my eye. A lump of white was lying motionless next to a tree. I decided to investigate, knowing that something had to be wrong.
Kneeling down by the tree, I gently turned over the white ball of fur, concern flowing through me. The first thing I noticed were the long, fluffy ears of what I could only suspect as a bunny. Then I saw it. Thick, red liquid gushed from its wounds. Black eyes stared unseeing at me, causing a shudder to rack through my body. Several cuts were sporadically placed along it’s frail build with matted pieces of blood and flesh around it.
There was something, someone here. The startling cries of crunching leaves and wailing sticks pulled my attention behind me, but there was nothing there.
Snap! I turned my head to the side, my eyes darting around, trying to find the source. Leaves, trees, branches, and sticks were all I could see. Again, there was nothing there.
Snap! Snap! Snap!
“Who’s there?” I called out, fear leaking into my voice. Whipping my head around, I desperately tried to locate the transgressor, my breathing becoming erratic and panicked. Then I saw it.
Or her, rather.
She had short blonde hair that seemed to glow in the sunlight. A forest green shirt loosely flowed around her with black jeans clinging to her legs. Dark blue eyes pierced through me, and it was then that I realized.
She was running.
Running. At. Me.
Sucking in a breath, I scurried to my feet before dashing in the opposite direction. Branches attempted to stop me, scratching my body as I pushed past them. A searing pain pierced through me as a branch attacked my cheek with its coarse bark. I ran as hard as I could, silently begging my legs to go faster and faster. Yet, they didn’t listen. My legs began to quickly tire, and that was when I chanced a glance behind me.
She was gaining on me, within a few feet she would be directly behind me. I needed to run faster. I needed to push harder than ever in this moment. I needed to escape.
With renewed vigor, I pumped my legs, ignoring the sharp tingles pricking my legs. I stared straight ahead, nothing would distract me now. My breathing had become ragged, my feet bloody and torn from running. Yet the only thing I could hear was the pounding of my heart. Pounding with fear, adrenaline. Then I felt it.
Sharp tugs at my shirt. Terror pulsed through me as I tried to continue on despite the tugs, but they were slowing me down. Desperately, I pushed onward, hoping that I could make it somewhere safe, hoping that I could outrun her. An insistent pull caught my attention. She had grasped onto my shirt. Suddenly, I was wrenched back, my feet yanked from the ground as I fell backwards. My mouth opened, ready to let out a screech, then -- .
Breathing raggedly, I gazed around my room, taking in the pale green walls, and dark mahogany floors. My smoky grey dresser remained in its place beside my bed. I wasn’t in a forest with some woman chasing after me. I was in my room. It had been a dream.
Letting out a relieved breath, I laid back on my bed, a bad feeling blooming as I wondered what I had done to have a mysterious woman coming after me.